Previous news story    Next news story

Pentax enters enthusiast compact market with brass-capped MX-1

By dpreview staff on Jan 7, 2013 at 14:00 GMT

Pentax has announced the MX-1 - its entry into the enthusiast compact camera sector. The MX-1 features classic styling and construction, with brass top- and base-plates. It's based around a stabilized 12MP BSI CMOS sensor and a familiar-sounding 28-112mm equivalent F1.8-2.5 lens. In addition the MX-1 features a flip-out 920k dot rear screen. It includes a top-plate exposure compensation dial and rear thumb wheel to control a UI very much like those in the company's DSLRs. We've borrowed a pre-production version of the camera and have prepared a hands-on preview article.

Jump to:

Press Release:

PENTAX Debuts Retro Design Camera Featuring Fast F1.8-2.5 Lens, 4X Zoom and Classically Crafted Brass Body

 The MX-1 strikes the perfect balance between performance and classic design

Denver, CO (January 7, 2013) PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION (PENTAX) has introduced the MX-1, an advanced digital compact camera whose craft design and vintage lines appeal to a wide variety of photo enthusiasts. It’s fast F1.8-2.5 lens produces sharp and crisp imagery in a variety of settings and the camera’s 1/1.7 inch, 12.0 effective megapixel backlit CMOS sensor renders impressive low-light performance.

Encased in brass covers with an ergonomically-pleasing, texturized grip, the MX-1’s body is a tactile experience. The brass panels are cool to the touch and its high-end composition feels substantial in the hand, enabling simple and intuitive handling.  Thanks to its beautiful styling and premium materials, the MX-1 develops a stunning patina impressing a history on the camera with each use.

The camera captures images in a wide variety of settings and its fast lens makes creating beautiful focusing effects and bokeh achievable, enabling heightened creative expression and artistic personalization.  The MX-1’s 4X zoom offers a versatile and highly-useable range, from a wide 28mm to telephoto 112mm (in 35mm format), its dual shake-reduction system enables sharp, blur-free images in even the most demanding circumstances.

“The feature set of the MX-1, including its large articulated LCD, makes it a phenomenal choice for photo enthusiasts who require superior image-capturing capabilities but also appreciate the styling and construction of a classic camera.” said John Carlson, senior marketing manager, PENTAX. 

Whether it is the seasoned and well-practiced veteran who is brought back to the heart of his passion with the touch and feel of the cool brass panels, or the design-conscious novice who’s inspired by retro character and design, the MX-1 delivers on their hunger to produce beautiful photos through defining optics, electronics and design.

Major features of the MX-1 include:

Expanding photographic horizons with fast lens and versatile zoom
The PENTAX MX-1 features a 4X optical zoom lens offering a large maximum aperture of F1.8 to F2.5 and 28mm wide-angle coverage (in the 35mm format). When set at maximum aperture and widest angle of view the photographer can use fast shutter speeds in dimly lit locations and take advantage of a beautiful bokeh (out-of-focus) effect in the background. The MX-1 also provides a Macro mode to capture dramatic close-up images of subjects from as little as one centimeter away. Additionally, the Intelligent Zoom (digital zoom) function extends the zoom coverage up to approximately 7.8 times (for a focal length of approximately 218mm (in the 35mm format) without compromising image quality by optimizing the resolution to match the zoom length.

Newly engineered backlit CMOS image sensor ensures super-high-resolution images in high-sensitivity shooting
The MX-1 incorporates a newly designed back-illuminated CMOS image sensor. With a top sensitivity of ISO 12800 and approximately 12.0 effective megapixels, it boasts remarkable high-sensitivity, low-noise capabilities and assures high-speed image data readout to deliver high-resolution images. The MX-1 also features a state-of-the-art imaging engine. Supported by the latest Super Resolution technology, this engine offers outstanding image-processing performance to produce clear, high-quality images with well-defined details. In addition, the MX-1’s unique Handheld Night snap mode helps the photographer capture blur-free night-time images by taking multiple images at one time, then synthesizing them into a single composite picture.

Classic and refined design
With its textured-rubber grip, and brass top and bottom covers that develop a distinctive appearance after years of use, the MX-1 offers a classic design reminiscent of traditional film cameras. It also features a number of metallic accents, including the lens ring, to further complete the tasteful, high-class finish down to the fine details.

DSLR operability including in-body RAW data development and dedicated exposure compensation dial enhance the shooting experience
Thanks to a dedicated exposure compensation dial, the MX-1 assures user-friendly, direct-access shift of the exposure compensation setting without the need to recall the menu screen. It also features a mode dial for swift, effortless setting of 10 different shooting modes — ranging from the hands-off Auto Picture and the all-purpose Programmed AE, to the more creative Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE and Metered Manual. As the result, the photographer is assured of outstanding creative freedom to choose the most appropriate shooting mode for a particular scene or subject without delay. Additionally, the MX-1 comes equipped with a host of SLR-like features to optimize its operability, including advanced UI (user interface) functions, easy-to-access controls and in-body RAW data development.

Dual shake-reduction system produces sharp, blur-free images
The MX-1’s dual shake-reduction system couples the PENTAX-developed sensor-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism with a digital SR mode to more effectively compensate for camera shake. This hybrid system guarantees the photographer sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting with incident light in poorly lit locations, or photographing sunset scenes.

Large, articulated LCD display simplifies capturing images at challenging angles
The MX-1 comes equipped with a large 3.0-inch, high-definition LCD display with approximately 921,000 dots. Its articulated design allows the photographer to adjust the display vertically and set it to the angle easiest for capturing and viewing. It also provides a clear view of images and menus displayed on the screen to assure quick, effortless review of recorded images and swift, error-free setting changes.

Full HD video captures high-quality movies with the push of a button
The MX-1 features Full HD movie recording functionality employing the H.264 recording format, to capture high-quality, extended movie clips (with 1920 x 1080 pixels, at a 16:9 aspect ratio, and at a frame rate of 30 frames per second). Switching to video mode is simple and intuitive; with the push of a dedicated button, the MX-1 instantly begins recording video from any shooting mode.  It also offers creative movie capture modes — including a High-speed Movie mode* for slow-motion playback and a Time-lapse Movie mode* for fast-forward playback — to make movie capturing and viewing more fun and exciting. A micro-HDMI terminal (Type D) is also included on the camera body for quick and efficient output of recorded movies and sound to external devices.

* In these modes, the recorded size is fixed at VGA dimensions (640 x 480 pixels).

Other features

  • Dual-axial digital level for accurate horizontal and vertical alignment
  • Pop-up auto flash for perfectly exposed images and fill light
  • Remote control sensors on front and back panels
  • 15 digital filters, including Miniature and Toy Camera, to add creative touches to captured images
  • A choice of four aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9. 3:2, 1:1) to accommodate specific applications
  • SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 LE for PENTAX RICOH IMAGING RAW data development software (designed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included, in addition to in-body RAW data development
  • Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN SD memory cards

Pricing and Availability

The new MX-1 advanced digital compact will be available at retail outlets nationwide and online in February 2013 with a suggested retail price of $499.95.

For details on the complete line-up of PENTAX cameras, visit: For details on the complete line-up of PENTAX lenses, visit:

{Pentax MX-1 specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Body materialBrass and composite
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions3984 x 2656, 3968 x 2232, 3072 x 2304, 3072 x 2048, 3072 x 1728, 2592 x 1728, 2560 x 1440, 2048 x 1152
Image ratio w:h4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors13 megapixels
Sensor size1/1.7" (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto (100 -1600), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
White balance presets9
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
File format
  • JPEG 2.3
  • RAW
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–112 mm
Optical zoom4×
Maximum apertureF1.8 - F2.5
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range60 cm (23.62)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Number of focus points25
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3
Screen dots920,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD with AR coating
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • iAuto
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
  • Scene select AE
  • Green
Scene modes
  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Night Scene
  • Night Scene Portrait
  • Standard
  • Flower
  • Sport
  • Candlelight
  • Blue Sky
  • Sunset
  • Text
  • Group Photo
  • Pet
  • Portrait x Blue Sky
  • Portrait x Sunset
  • Portrait x Backlight
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range12.00 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Speed sync, Trailing Curtain sync
Drive modes
  • One shot
  • Continuous Shooting
  • Burst Shooting (L/H)
  • Self-timer (2 or 10 sec.)
  • Remote Control (immediately or 3 sec.)
  • Auto Bracketing
Continuous drive1 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage included75.3 MB
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini HDMI type-D)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlYes (Optional)
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion D-Li-106 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)290
Weight (inc. batteries)391 g (0.86 lb / 13.79 oz)
Dimensions122 x 61 x 51 mm (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.01)
Other features
Timelapse recordingNo
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 43
By kgreggain (Jan 10, 2013)

This is a step back from the K-01 so to me, it's kind of a wasted effort.

Why not an APS-C like the k-01 ? I'm missing the point here.

1 upvote
By JackM (Jan 8, 2013)

Oh man... I love Pentax, but I'm afraid this camera just got upstaged by the Fuji X20.

1 upvote
By rusticus (Jan 8, 2013)

yes - i agree

and for 300 Dollar can you buy the APS-C K-01 ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
By Timmbits (Jan 7, 2013)

Are we going to have to wait ANOTHER year before these tiny sensors are no longer used in this category?

By Revenant (Jan 8, 2013)

It seems that the recent trend has been towards faster lenses rather than larger sensors, but surely we'll see some more 1" models in the near future. Maybe more manufacturers will do like Canon, and offer a fast lens/small sensor model (G15) and a slow lens/large sensor model (G1 X).

By ogl (Jan 7, 2013)

MX-1 has shake reduction. Pay attention!

1 upvote
By MinceyFresh (Jan 7, 2013)

I think that this camera (with interchangeable lenses, of course) is what the Pentax Q should have been.

By peevee1 (Jan 7, 2013)

Is it Olympus XZ-2 in slightly different clothes?

By Jerra (Jan 7, 2013)

-Lens: 24-90mm, 1:1.4-1:2.3
-Sensor: 1"
-Fast AF
-EVF, Tilting Touch-Screen

I'm not buying any camera until this arrives.

By ogl (Jan 7, 2013)

Lens: 20-100/2
Sensor: 4/3
EVF, no touch-screen, Android and Wi-Fi.
Battery: 500 images
Full weather resist
I'm not buying any camera until this arrives.

By Timmbits (Jan 7, 2013)

You'll like the NX300, the NX20 or the NX30!

By mcshan (Jan 7, 2013)

I can't wait until the world runs out of sensors this size. I wish they were instead running with what the RX100 has and improving that.

With point and shoots I am in agreement with those here who don't care about viewfinders or GPS. In my case put tilting screens in there too. If I wanted all that I would buy a bigger/better camera.

This looks like one more generic point and shoot.

By Combatmedic870 (Jan 7, 2013)

So its a XZ-2 knock off? I guess it could be a good buy if the price drops like the lx7 did.

1 upvote
By JackM (Jan 7, 2013)

I'd say it's a cooler XZ-2 re-do. It does look like my old MX with the prism lopped off. I dig it. A poor-man's Leica X2. Wish it had a 1" sensor though.

By mjdundee (Jan 7, 2013)

Just another PnS - who needs this?

By JackM (Jan 7, 2013)

Things I like about my S100 better than my iPhone:
Exposure compensation
Manual exposure

By mjdundee (Jan 7, 2013)

Sure - but then - why would you like this bulkier, heavier, smaller zoomrange of the Pentax?

By JackM (Jan 8, 2013)

faster lens, better ergonomics, faster lens, tilt lcd, classic design, faster lens.

By mjdundee (Jan 8, 2013)

Even if you repeat it 100x - you won't see any advantage of this lens or screen but you will always carry a bag and the weight. Have fun.

By AllOtherNamesTaken (Jan 7, 2013)

Too bad about the 1/1.7" sensor. Looks like an OK camera other than the sensor. With how small M43, Nikon V1, and Sony RX100 type cameras are, there is no excuse to be using such a small sensor IMO. Just not for me, but I'm sure some will like it.

By D1N0 (Jan 7, 2013)

all it's main competitors (except for the rx-100 which is way more expensive) sport a 1/1.7". Pentax doesn't make sensors so they got little choice but calling Sony.

By jonikon (Jan 7, 2013)

What about the Fujifilm X10 with a f2.0-f2.8lens? It at least has a somewhat larger 2/3-inch sensor with better high ISO image quality and probably a stop more dynamic tonal range at base ISO than this Pentax "enthusiast" camera.

By ogl (Jan 7, 2013)

X10 has really bad lens. Optically is junk.
Fuji uses Fuji 2/3" sensor and doesn't sell outside.
I'm doubt that the newest SONY BSI CMOS sensor is worse than Fuji.

It's new sensor from Sony - the same as in Olympus XZ-2, Nikon P7700 and Samsung EX2F

By JackM (Jan 8, 2013)

D1N0, the Fuji X20 just arrived with a larger 2/3" sensor, which also lacks an AA filter.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
By AmaturFotografer (Jan 8, 2013)

1/1.7 is pretty big for a compact.

1 upvote
By DidiBaev (Jan 7, 2013)

Live view: no; viewfinder: none. So.......?

By daggochgryning (Jan 7, 2013)

You are wrong. All digital compact cameras as well as all mirror-less system cameras are permanent live-view cameras.
Also with this camera, one can only shoot using live view, i.e. by viewing the image of the sensor on the rear display with most - if not all - of the camera settings (white balance, picture stile etc.) applied to the picture.
You cannot get any closer to the paradigm "what you see is what you get" when you use any of these permanent live-view cameras.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By DidiBaev (Jan 7, 2013)

OK, now it is live view:yes :)

Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (Jan 7, 2013)

NO GPS???? If you don't know where you are, then maybe you need to visit the doctor! :o) The thing doesn't have an OPTICAL VIEW FINDER!!!! That kills it for me!

Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Jan 7, 2013)

I hear people like you complain all the time about no viewfinder on a P&S and I scratch my head. Any P&S I have ever used with an optical viewfinder SUCKED (like on my G10). The view is tiny, tiny and what view you do have is only about 60% coverage...what's the point?

By garyknrd (Jan 7, 2013)

You know as much as I hate Pentax now. That looks like a winner.

By JohanBe (Jan 7, 2013)

looks like a winner!
pity there is no built-in GPS ...

By msusic (Jan 7, 2013)

This is the same thing as XZ-2, no?

By vapentaxuser (Jan 7, 2013)

Does this camera have a built-in ND filter?

1 upvote
By Couscousdelight (Jan 7, 2013)

Nop, but it goes till 1/8000s

By vapentaxuser (Jan 7, 2013)

Another website says there is one built-in but no indication of how strong it is.

By iudex (Jan 7, 2013)

What a surprise: enthusiast compact from Pentax! Good to know Ricoh keeps pushing Pentax in various areas. The specs looks good, however not amazing (the lens looks similar to Oly XZ), but fnally something from Pentax worth noticing apart from DSLR. Thumbs up!

By SETI (Jan 7, 2013)

Restyled old good Olympus XZ-1

By iudex (Jan 7, 2013)

The XZ1 had a CCD sensor with 10 MPix, this is CMOS with 12 MPix. However the lens specs looks surprisingly similar.

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
By iudex (Jan 7, 2013)

Edit: it´s more an Olympus XZ-2 (ens, sensor).

By ogl (Jan 7, 2013)

The lenses are a bit different. XZ-2 is a bit brighter (F2.2 till 100 mm) and has 6 aspherical elements, Pentax has 4. Pentax lens could be sharper.

By JhvaElohimMeth (Jan 7, 2013)

I think it equips the Oly's XZ lens

By D1N0 (Jan 7, 2013)

about time ;) Probably the sony IMX144CQJ 1.7" cmos

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
Total comments: 43